Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

This may well be called the age of profession, and no pains ought to be spared, and no opportunities lost of endeavouring to establish the melancholy fact, that profession is not principle-and that it is possible to maintain a character for religion in cases where there are very inadequate or distorted views of Divine truth and where still exists an immoderate attachment to the world, and the things of the world. There is also a great fondness for novelty in religious professions of the present day; and 100 often in the eager desire to establish a favourite opinion, the plainest preceptive parts of the sacred Scriptures are either overlooked or disregarded, wbile the most difficult passages are brought forward to prove that the times of the seasons, which the Father hath kept in his own power, are so plainly laid down, that he is indeed blind who does not see them. It is an arduous work rightly to divide the word of truth, and he who has been longest employed in it, will be the most ready to confess that he knows nothing yet as he ought to know -while on the contrary, the novice will unhesitatingly demand your prompt and cordial reception of a doctrine which, although it may be true—yet being put forward out of its proper and legi. timate connexion, serves to destroy the beauty-the harmonyand the consistency of the word of God. It is no wonder, tbat where there is such a rending of the Scriptures-such a disregard or contempt of what is plain-and such a fondness for what is obscure, that infidelity should hold its head erect, and boldly lay claim to the judgments and consciences of those who possess not the only principles that can cause a man to regulate his life and conversation by the word of truth. What a striking proof that the Bible is divine is afforded by the fact, that notwithstanding the daring and long continued opposition of avowed enemies and the distortion of its texts, iby professed friends, it still holds its place as the sun of the moral world, and becomes the means of conveying spiritual blessings to the various nations of the earth ?

Bedel.

ON THE RUBRIC OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER,

SIR-I am one of the persons who hold the unfashionable opinion that an ordinance-a ceremony-or a truth is not necessarily useless—or unnecessary or absurd on account of its antiquity ; and I sometimes am led to think that a discovery will yet be made that in many essential matters the children of the present generation are not better instructed than their fathers. If we must pause and express our astonishment, if not our admiration, at 6s the march of intellect"--we may be allowed to lament over the sad enerease of the Athenian spirit now in full operation, which is ever crying out for some new thing. These observations have been suggested by observing the ignorance of the contents of the

Rubric of the Church of England, which exists even among many of her ministers. So long as it is a duty to observe the apostolic precept, let all things be done decently and in order—so long must ihe Rubric be acknowledged as well calculated to keep alive the recollection of it in the minds of a large and influential portion of the visible church. In the direction of the Rubric we may trace the dictates of a sound judgment-and may readily perceive the existence of a spirit of tenderness towards weak consciences, and of love towards all who profess and call themselves Christians. The reasons given in the beginning of our Book of Common Prayer, “why some ceremonies are abolished and some retained” claim, upon their own excellence the serious perusal of every churchman-and might be very usefully and effectually brought forward in conversation with weak or scrupulous persons, whose minds have been unsettled as to the duty of remaining in a church which has for ages held out the lamp of life to guide weary pilgrims into the way of peace; and which, notwithstanding all its real or imaginary defects, has enjoyed much of the Divine presence and blessing-bas sent forth from her bosom some of the most devoted Christians—and some of the most intrepid martyrs that have ever been enrolled in the annals of the Christian church.

Bedel.

PAPAL SUPREMACY.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER,

SIR, -The language ascribed to the apostle of the Gentiles in chap. vii. v. 17, of his first epistle to the Corinthians, struck me a few days since, as totally irreconcileable with the Romish doctrine of Papal supremacy. Curiosity prompted me to refer to the Doway version, to see how they treated the passage, and I was not a little surprised to find that the French Divines appeared to view it in the same light that I do myself, for they adopted a translation altogether different from ours, and one which I conceive is quite incorrect; with what intent I cann conjecture, if not to evade the force of the objection it furnishes against a favourite and essential tenet. The apostle closing certain instructions he had just been giving to individuals who had been unequally married, says at the end of the 17th verse, “ and so ORDAIN I IN ALL CHURCHES, a tone of authority perfectly inconsistent with the idea of a supremacy over the whole Church of Christ being vested in another apostle. We do not hear of Dr. Doyle issuing instructions to the subjects of another diocese without the slightest reference to the bishop of that diocese, or an allusion to the superior authority of the sovereign pontiff. Can we suppose the apostle's sense of propriety inferior to the Irish prelates? The Doway Testament renders the passage,

or and so I TEACH in all churches.” In chap. iv. 17, we have nearly a parallel expression as I teach every where in every church ;” but it is worthy of remark that the respective passages differ in the original. In the former passage the word we render · ordain' is daraoooua, in the latter, that translated search' is didáokw. Alaraoow in various forms is the term employed, not only in the former of the passages already referred to, but in all the following

- Matt. xi. 1, I Cor. ix. 14, Titus i. 5; and in none of them does the Doway version differ from ours save in this one, where an im. portant end was to be attained by the variation.

It is perhaps, unnecessary to add, that datacow, will not bear the same rendering as diddorw, the former invariably implies authority, and is translated ordino; dispono; constituo ; præcipio; the latter simply doceo.

Should you think this fact worthy to be submitted to the notice of your readers, its insertion in your Magazine, will oblige, Sir,

Your obedient servant,

I'HOMAS LENON.

ON THE INTEGRITY OF SCRIPTURE.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER.

Sir, -One of the arguments upon which Mr. Maguire appeared, in the discussion between himself and Mr. Pope, to place his strongest reliance, was that drawn from the supposed loss of a part of the Sacred Scriptures. I have heard that eminent critics deny their loss, and undertake to show that they are probably included in the historical part of the Old Testament, though not under their original titles. Into this question, as destitute of any pretensions to learning, I feel myself incompetent to enter ; but on considering the gentleman's reasoning, the following question suggested itself to my mind —" when were they lost ?" We are told in the Gospel by St. Luke xvi. 19–31, that a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and scarlet and fared sumptuously every day, died, and in bell lifted up his eyes being in torment; after requesting in vain that a drop of cold water should be given him to mitigate his torture, he next implores that one should be sent from the dead to warn his five brethren lest they also come to that wretched place. Is this request granted : No. He is informed that they have already that which is sufficient for the desired end, and which if unattended to, renders their case a hopeless one, namely, Moses and the Prophets ; for “ if they bear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” Here, then, we have an explicit avowal, that the Scriptures then extant, as sufficient to conduct to eternal life, and to prevent man from endless misery, did constitute a perfect rule of faith, for no other authority is referred to. Now, the books Mr. Maguire assumed to be lost, were extant then or they were not.

If they were extant then, and subsequently lost, bas that church, which he tells us was the depository of God's word, been faithful to her trust, or has she not in her unfaithfulness given us the strongest evidence we can demand, of her liability to err?

If they were not extant then, but previously lost, then their loss does, by no means, entail imperfection on what remains as a rule of faith; for sufficient was left to prevent mankind from misery, and to conduct them to eternal life.

Should the above argument appear to you, Sir, satisfactory, its insertion in your pages would oblige the writer.

Apologizing, Mr. Examiner, for the liberty I have taken in trespassing on your attention, I am, Sir, your's, very faithfully,

THOMAS LEMON.

MISCELLANEOUS COMMUNICATIONS.

PESTA LOZZI AND HIS PLANS.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER. SIR, -As the personal character of the late celebrated Pestalozzi, and his primary objects, have been much mistaken in these kingdoms, and sometimes, I regret to say, misrepresented, even by friends to his plans, I trust you will allow me to trespass on the pages of your Journal, by a few words on these subjects. Having spent ibree months at Yverdon, in constant intercourse with that excellent man, during a tour on the Continent in 1817-18, and taken the deepest interest in our daily conversations, I feel myself doubly bound to endeavour to do his memory justice, now that he is removed from all his labours, and to place his Christian character in its true light, while at the same time, vindicating his plans.

One of the most interesting objects that I had in view, in my visit to the Continent, was to become acquainted with Pestalozzi and bis establishment; and, accordingly, I spent a considerable part of almost every day, for three months, with him. When arrived at his residence, I determined to remain, until he had, in some degree at least, satisfied my curiosity, as to most of the characters, which distinguished his mode of teaching from all the popular plans, which passed current in this or other countries. And as the time approached which would give me at last an opportunity of accomplishing this object, I became every day more and more anxious for its arrival, and looked upon the delays, which unavoidably intervened, as almost so many losses of time. Having travelled far in France, and Italy, and Switzerland, and seen also much to interest and surprise, and more to amuse and instruct, I yet believe I should, at any time, have been glad to have turned off from the road, which was conducting me, amid new beauties, to new wonders, in order to direct my course by the shortest route, to the peaceful shores of the lake of Neufchatel. With pleasure would I have turned back without regret even from the street leading up to the Basilica of St. Peter, at Rome, or from the path, which I had laborioasly climbed, midway up Vesuvius, without seeing the unrivalled display of human art in the structure of the one, or the terrific grandeur of the Almighty's works in the eruptions of the other, provided I would thereby have hastened my arrival at Yverdon by a single week, by these sacrifices. Man alone is capable of interesting me in this world of sin and death; for on it hangs an everlasting destiny. I would with pleasure have exchanged the view of the ancient temples of forgotten gods, and of palaces, and even of cities built of marble, and of splendid churches, desecrated by the detestable superstitions of Popery, and its worship of a wafer Deity, and a rabble of demi-gods, for the unadorned walls of the castle of Yverdon, and would have turned my eyes with pleasure from the sculptures of Praxiteles and Phidias, the buildings of Michael Angelo, and the paintings of Raphael and Titian, though scarcely inanimate, to a contemplation of the animation of the children in Pestalozzi's school-room, the creation of benevolence, the living workmanship of wisdom. Surely the melancholy pleasure, mixed with not unjoyous pain, which is experienced on walking through The Street of Tombs," that leads into the city of Pompeii, now uncovered, after a burial of seventeen hundred years, among costly monuments of men, renowned perhaps in their day, but whose character is still, and ever will be, no less hidden from our view, than their tombs were until lately, by the overwhelming shower of cinders, that desolated their city, and entombed themselves alive, with their names, in an unceasing ruin and oblivion, deserves not to be compared with the unalloyed delight, which one experiences, in contemplating the vivifying influence of this man in the countenances of his children. For my part, I would incomparably prefer, to try to take one step, in following living worth and Christian benevolence, than to walk perhaps in the very foot-prints of the renowned of heathen antiquity, and see their dead works, even did I know their names, characters, and deeds. Happier is it to see the vital trophies of his charity, with which Pestalozzi was surrounded, than all the mountainlike pyramids, and storied mausoleums and heaps of stone throughout the world, with which fond man bas vainly sought to eternise bis name or his power. Besides my very heart was sick of witnessing the degradation of the human mind, and the servi. tude of all its faculties, and the perversion of religion, wbich is produced in Italy by the united influence of political and religious tyranny ; and I longed more than can be expressed, to be placed once more in a situation, where one can breathe the pure mountain air of liberty and of truth, and see the intellect of one's fellow-creatures develope itself, unshackled by the despotism of autocrats and bigots, who would enslave and blind their subjects and their flocks, preferring to reign over slaves rather than over freemen, and to lead the devotions of the superstitious and ignorant, than of those who know what they worship.” While at Yverdon, I endeavoured to have every sense and faculty in exercise, to ob

« PoprzedniaDalej »